Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Islamist Revolt in Kabardino-Balkaria

Autonomous Regions indicated in pink.

The revolt has been going on since Monday.

From La Repubblica:

On Monday, in an abandoned factory outside Naltcik in the Autonomous Region of Kabardino-Balkaria, police and security forces found a rebel arsenal containing 500 kg (nearly 1.5 tons) of explosive, rocket launchers and thousands of rounds of ammunition. The next day, Tuesday evening, a group of ten rebels were surrounded by security forces in the village of Belaya Rechka ("White River") and the battle raged all night.

Prior to today's assault on the city, police had battled Islamic extremists through the night. At dawn, rebels quickly took over several administration buildings, including security headquarters. Mortar fire was directed FSB (former KGB) headquarters. Rebels also attempted an assault on the airport. Local schools were evacuated by precaution. Simultaneously, attacks were carried out on border garrisons.

The reported death toll is 12 civilians, 20 police and 50 rebels dead. Several police were taken hostage.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered police and security personnel on the scene to shoot dead all rebels and to prevent them from leaving the city. Deputy State Prosecutor Vladimir Kolesnikov has been dispatched from Moscow.

Meanwhile, authorities say they have killed Anzor Astemirov, a leader of the Yarmuk Jamaat dei Mujaiddeen, the group behind the attack. It is reported that the rebel offensive has been defeated and that a mop-up operation is ungoing.

It is very strange that given three days of clashes prior to this morning's assault, especially the raging gunbattles last night, that authorities did not declare martial law or at least call a school holiday today.


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